One Month In: Toronto Real Estate Market April COVID-19 Update
POSTED on 04-23-2020
Torontonians have been staying home and practicing social distancing for more than a month now. Have things slowed down considerably for you, or are you one of the people whose work has really picked up during this pandemic, including our amazing essential service workers and those sacrificing for all of us on the front lines? Either way, we are rooting for you!
Since Realtors have been declared essential service workers, we are both still working, but we are now mostly working from home, and we’d be lying if we said we hadn’t succumbed to many of the clichéd “quarantine” activities. Yes, we’ve baked banana bread, organized every drawer and cupboard, and even shaved our heads! We’ve also had plenty of Zoom and Facetime catch-ups with family and friends, and are finding ourselves perusing animal rescue websites for cute pups in need. Who knows – maybe we’ll have a furry friend in the house before this is all over!
As for the Toronto real estate market, just like in our daily lives, the month of March is best described as being divided into two distinct periods – pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19. Overall, the month of March reported 8,012 home sales through TRREB’s MLS System, up 12.3 per cent compared to March 2019. The “pre-COVID-19” period from the 1st to the 14th was the main driver of these strong March figures at 58 per cent of the month’s total sales and a 49 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2019. The “post-COVID-19” period from the 15th through to the end of the month saw only 42 per cent of the month’s total sales and a 15.9 per cent decrease compared to the same period in 2019. While the number of sales and listings decreased as the month wore on, it’s worth noting that the average sale price remained 14.5 per cent higher than March 2019’s average prices. Even the last few days of the month saw prices 10.5 per cent higher than the same days in 2019. In short, March was strong overall compared to 2019, but COVID-19 and social distancing measures definitely had an impact in the later half of the month. You can read more about the March numbers in TRREB’s official press release.
We’re now halfway through April, and we’re continuing to see a decrease in the number of new listings hitting the market. Sales continue to decrease, and those listings that do sell are staying on the market for much longer than we’d expect during what would normally be one of the busiest months for real estate. We suspect we’ll continue to see the market slow down until at least mid-May, correlated closely to the social distancing measures in place by all levels of government.
Once these social distancing measures are lifted, we expect the market to bounce back with a vengeance as months of pent-up demand from buyers is released, coupled with those who postponed listing their homes entering the market in great numbers, possibly as soon as this summer or fall.
Ultimately, as of today we still stand by our thoughts from several weeks ago when we recommended that sellers hold off unless they absolutely need to sell, and that now is a good time for serious first-time home buyers to get into the market and for investors to pick up an investment property without the intense competition we saw earlier this year. You can read our recommendations along with how we’re adapting our business practices for COVID-19 again here.
As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions, or if you find yourself needing any assistance during these peculiar and troubling times. We can pick up groceries, run errands, and even just hop on a Zoom call to chat and catch up. The only way we will get through this is together, and we’re here to help!